Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for November 2017

Our feature photo this month is from early morning on November 18th.  A frosty 30 degrees greeted us at daybreak under mostly clear skies that day, dawn’s colors captured on the underside of the few clouds out and about at that hour.

Our feature photo. Dawn on November 18th, cold and colorful.

A lonely row of cotton candy pink altocumulus clouds was sighted in the west, perfectly aligned as if they were there solely to witness the arrival of the new day.

A row of little altocumulus clouds in the west, out observing the morning’s light show and beautifully reflecting dawn’s colors. Click on any photo in this post to enlarge.

Nature puts on a brief but intense show; the price of admission is free to those able and willing to attend.

Dawn’s saturated colors on November 7th.

November 7th. Roughly the same scene as the previous photo, a short time later. Color changes quickly.

News from the farm

The harvest is in; garden, orchard and vineyard finished for the season. A few late season apples still cling to trees, and are still quite good, enhanced by a little frost.

Early morning on November 4th, a view of the southeast hills framed by apple trees. The jagged line of conifers loom above the silver-grey mists in the low areas.

It has been a good year; I have been slowly able to do more. Two test fermentations of pinot noir rosé wine as well as two test runs of whole berry, stainless steel fermented pinot noir wine were made from grapes from our own vineyard, a tribute to the value of insect netting which not only keeps out birds, but also yellow jacket wasps. The quality of life here is measured in what we can eat and drink from what we produce, the natural beauty that surrounds us, and most importantly, the love of home, each other, and our animal companions.  Life is not always easy, but it is good, and sustains us.

Rick and Lucio cat.

I look forward to the long dark of winter, though. Like the orchard and vineyard, I feel the need to slow down, to withdraw to my roots, and recover from the physiological debt of the year’s fast pace.  It is a time for peace, a quieting of the mind so that creativity may flow again.  A friend once described peace as “a place of one’s own to listen to the wind”.  We know we are there when we arrive, but often lose the track to that elusive but vast internal space, the Outback of the Mind,  where the wind tarries a while to speak of where it has been, and where it is going.

Mare’s tails, windswept cirrus clouds at dawn on November 19th.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano, always watchful!

Resident Feline Correspondent Miss Wynken, deliberating liberating Rick’s buckwheat pancakes. She insisted it would make a good report in the fine dining section. Rick thought otherwise, and Mr. Nano agreed.

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has contacted the Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk for a report on the olive harvest at the House of 40 Paws.  Without further do, Mr. Nano will turn this section of the newsletter over to Sicilian Feline Correspondent Lucky of the House of 40 Paws.

A venerable old olive tree at The House of 40 Paws olive farm, Sicily. Photo credit M.G.

The weather here in Sicily has been exceptional, with temperatures in the low 60s, perfect for olive harvesting. Rain occurring a few days before the scheduled harvest date threatened to take us off schedule, but the reappearance of sun dried trees and olives sufficiently enough to make the harvest possible.

A view of the countryside from The House of 40 Paws. Photo credit M.G.

I attempted to recruit our other correspondents to help with the harvest. We are seven in total, and many paws can make quick work. This proved to be an exercise in herding cats.

The Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk. Photo credit M.G.

Correspondent Simona was missing from the initial meeting, leaving Dexter to try to convince her that harvesting olives would be in her best interest.

Photo credit M.G.

Only Dexter and YouTube showed up to listen to the requirements of olive harvesting. NewDude remained on the terrace, keeping a safe distance from any work.

Photo credit M.G.

Another correspondent, Lulu, decided staying home and enjoying pizza was much more to his liking.

Photo credit M.G.

Ranger finally convinced YouTube that laying in the sun on the terrace would be more far more exciting than working,

Photo credit M.G.

and were soon joined by correspondents NewDude and Dexter.

Photo credit M.G.

Although I am blind, I was the only correspondent still willing and available to climb trees and assist.

Correspondent Lucky, who is blind but not disabled! Photo credit M.G.

It took four people 40 work hours to harvest all forty of the trees. As the trees were raked, the olives cascaded on to the waiting nets below.

Worker at the House of 40 Paws olive farm, harvesting olives with a rake. Photo credit M.G.

The olives are then gathered up and placed into totes, loaded onto the tractor and hauled to a waiting vehicle. The Almond Brothers, correspondents NewDude and YouTube, were found basking on the car, waiting to help load olives.

Photo credit M.G.

Photo credit M.G.

Olives were safely delivered to the the olive milling plant, or Oleficio, for processing. They are transferred into large totes, weighed and then emptied onto a grate to eliminate some of the leaves. From there, they travel up the conveyor belt for the first step, which is to clean the olives by removing stems, leaves, debris and dirt.

Photo credit M.G.

Photo credit M.G.

Olives are ground and then go into a horizontal trough with spiral mixing blades where they remain for about 45 minutes.

Photo credit M.G.

The paste then passes through a traditional centrifuge, which is a three phase process.  Olive paste is spun in a horizontal drum; the heavier flesh and pits go to the outside, while water and oil are tapped off separately from the center.

Photo credit M.G.

We started with 7.8 quintale of olives, or 780 kilos, (1,716 lbs) and came home with 140 liters of fresh oil, a good harvest in spite of not having all our feline workers available.  They are strongly encouraged to participate next year.  Their help will be most welcome.

Correspondent Lucky resting after a hard day of harvesting olives. Photo credit M.G

Sicilian Feline Correspondent Lucky, reporting from The House of 40 Paws.

Thank you, Correspondent Lucky!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

Saddle up a trusty vehicle, head up over the Cascades and on to the gorge where the olive-brown velvety hills of Washington come down to drink from the mighty Columbia River on sculpted lion’s paws.  Head across the river, through eastern Washington and on to Spokane.  This was my first year back at the Spokane Fall Folk Festival since 2011, having taken on elder care, and then recovery from elder care during the intervening years.  I completely burned out in 2015 during the last year Rick’s mother was alive and with us, trying to work part-time, play music and provide round the clock care, resulting in my taking 2016 off entirely to recover my health.  This has been a year of slowly regaining my sea legs as a performer.

View from the top of the Cascade pass. Snow!

Mount Washington at the left.

Looking back at The Three Sisters mountains.

Breakfast at the Black Bear Diner.

I took no pictures from the festival itself, as I forgot to bring the camera along to the community college where it was held.

Closer to the river on the return trip. The hills of Washington look like olive-brown velvet lion’s paws from across the river.

Another view of the Columbia taken from the car.

The patterns in the rock wall face are quite impressive.

A rainbow greeted us when we returned home.

For those readers who are new or catching up, the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel now has content, and our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March. I am 14 years older and a good bit more grey since my first and only CD was released back in 2003, but still in the saddle. It has been an interesting ride, with more to come! Do keep an eye on more content appearing from time to time, now that the harvest season has passed.

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the previous two videos.

The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on YouTube. Anyone wishing to see the entire track listing and stories behind the songs should visit my personal page under MUSIC in the menu at the top of this post. Depending on what country you live in, the music placed on YouTube by The Orchard may be blocked. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site. See https://archive.org/details/iuma-lavinia_ross

In the meantime, in your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.

Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Dawn glowing beyond the mists on November 29, 2017. The anticipation of a new day, and what it may bring. Live each one as if it were the last.

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112 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for November 2017

    • Thanks for stopping by from The Way to Off Center and Not Even, Tim! Thanks for the kind comments. I am in awe of your photos, especially your work with the Sandias. What a beautiful place you and Laurie live in!

      That is some of the best olive oil I have ever tasted. The number of paws in their operation has been slowly increasing over the years. M & J are kind-hearted people, and take in as many as they can. This post was a bit longer than I originally envisioned, but there were a lot of photos, and I requested a detailed report from the cats perspective on how they harvest their olives and make oil.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for coming by from EasyWeimaraner and the kind comments, Phenny and family! Easy’s flower bulbs are planted. We’ll see them in spring, the time of rebirth and renewal.

      You might like this song by Don Conoscenti called “The Other Side”. May you find peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a beautiful photographs, dear Lavinia! And your November report from this beautiful farm fascinated me, but as always I felt myself there…. especially the cats, this Sicilian Feline Correspondents 🙂 You are amazing and your cats so lovely. Do they play with olive and then eat? My Princess was playing with black olive and when she was tired she stopped and ate the olive… 🙂

    About peace as “a place of one’s own to listen to the wind”… this is so beautiful, I have never heard. Loved so much.

    Music and you, another part from the beautiful world, place, you made my day today. Thank you so much, have a nice harvest and day and new month dear Lavinia, Love and Hugs, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by from Istanbul, and for the kind comments, dear Nia! I will have to ask my friends with the olive farm if any of their cats eat the olives. I would bet they at least play with them. 🙂

      An old friend of mine came up with that quote about peace. I thought her words were so beautiful. I will let her know how much you enjoyed that.

      Thank you so much for enjoying the music! I am glad it brings happiness. 🙂

      Your Princess cat’s flower bulbs are planted and waiting for spring, along with Easy’s. I look forward to sending you the photos when they bloom. 🙂

      The film Kedi finally arrived today, and Rick and I look forward to seeing that movie about the cats of Istanbul.

      Much love to you and your family, Ibis, and all the cats in your garden, Nia ❤ I will catch up with you and your many beautiful posts on your Turkish homeland very soon.
      – Lavinia

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually my all cats in my life they all played with olives, especially with black olives… and when they get tired and also when the olive is not like a ball, they eat it. And leave its kernel. But should be something important point in here. Our cats were all indoor cat. Maybe they find something in this olive like a mouse 🙂 playing and eating (yes not all cats eat mouse but play with them) anyway, Thank you dear Lavinia, have a nice day and weekend, Love, and Hugs, Please give my Thanks to your friend too, 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you are right, Nia, in that playing with olives may have to do with being an indoor cat. My own cats are indoors, and they get into all kinds of things they would probably leave alone outside. Long ago, I did have one cat that used to bite the buds off of my hibiscus house plant, and them bring them to me in his mouth, meowing. I could never figure out why until one day I sniffed the bud where it was broken off, and noted it smelled slightly like fish. Maybe olives smelled like mice to Princess. It is possible.

        Love and hugs to you and your family, ❤
        Lavinia

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for coming by from SilkAnnThreades, Gallivanta, and thank you for the kind comments! Each sunrise and sunset, the bookends of the day, are unique. Watching the colors and the color saturation change is a favorite activity. The dawns are special though, unfolding into a new day with all its promise. They do bring a sense of peace.

      Some cats do have a real carbohydrate tooth, and will eat some very strange things. I once had an Abyssinian who liked bananas. 🙂 I’ll check out the herding cats advertisement. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much to catch up on, plus that fascinating report from Sicily on the olive harvest! (I recognize that look of longing and planned perfidy on Wynken’s face! Kitties don’t like pancakes – trust m – Wynken!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from Weggieboy’s Blog, Doug, Andy and Dougy! Lucky the blind kitty writes a good report, and I had requested that he report on the olive harvest this year. I have tasted their olive oil in the past, and it is some of the best!

      Wyken might just eat those pancakes! I wouldn’t trust her not to take a bite out of them, at minimum. She has unusual tastes, and likes broccoli leaves. I have to be careful when I harvest broccoli to keep it away from her. She’ll jump up on the kitchen island counter where she knows she is not supposed to go to get at them. It’s funny how we can see the wheels turn behind those little innocent kitty eyes. 🙂

      All the best to you, and please give my favorite Persian brothers a scritch for me. 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you for stopping by from Jill Weatherholt, and thank you for the kind comments, Jill! Cotton candy is exactly what those clouds looked like. It brought back memories of country fairs, and seeing the confection spun right there in front of us.

      I am looking forward to winter! Even the cats sleep longer. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a wonderful post! Your writing is poetic and the photos really show what is so special about this late autumn season. As usual, I love hearing from any cat–Lucky gave a terrific explanation of the making of olive oil, and his own role in it! Now, about the folk festival–did you enjoy performing? Were you excited? Or was it terribly tiring? I’d love to hear more about your return to performing . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thak you for stopping by from Love Those Hands at Home, Kerry, and thank you for the kind comments! That was a great report from Lucky the blind kitty on the process of making olive oil. 🙂

      I enjoy performing, and the festival is favorite. There is good turn out from the community to support it, appreciative listeners, and a wonderful staff and crew. I was excited to be there again, but also fighting a cold, and had to take antihistamine to dry up the sinuses. That made it a bit rough even though each performer only gets 30 minutes, but I got through it, and the audience was genuinely appreciative, asking where they could hear more. I have to pick songs and stories carefully to fit within the time frame.

      Playing, and singing, does take a fair amount of energy and concentration, more than one would think. Some of my gigs in the past have been as long as 3 or 4 hours, so I have to be rested and ready. Practicing also takes time and energy, and there is a comfortable “groove” one gets into with regular performing that is lost and must be regained. When I was depleted from caregiving, I found I could fall asleep standing up holding a guitar and singing. I still can if I have not rested sufficiently. Testing revealed my thyroid and adrenal function were at a very low point, and my normally low blood pressure would sometimes drop even further. I woke up one morning and could not stand, only crawl. My blood pressure had dropped to 85/40. I thought I was dying. That prompted me to search for a doctor who was more knowledgeable regarding the condition and had good luck treating those kind of patients. I spent a lot of time searching on the Internet, found a very good doctor not that far away, and am very pleased with the progress. Medication, rest, good food, regular exercise (no problem here on a farm) all factor into recovery. It does not come overnight.

      One of the hardest aspects of caregiving was trying to explain to people what caregiving actually entailed, especially one’s own mother-in-law who was in her 90s, had mild dementia, tended to fall, and had to be watched carefully. It is hard for people who haven’t done this level of care to understand just what it takes from you. But I would do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I took care of my mother with dementia for over ten years, so I can definitely relate to the last paragraph of your comment. At the time, a few people called me a saint, and when I said I was just doing what anyone would do for their mom, they said I’d be surprised how untrue that is. Regardless, like you, I would of course do it again.

        By the way, I especially liked your RESTLESS RIVER (Keepsake) song. Have a joyous Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for stopping by from The Observation Post, mistermuse! A joyous Christmas season to you as well! I am glad you enjoyed The Keepsake song. The story behind the song can be found on the page https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/music/lavinia-ross/

        I applaud you for taking care of your mother for so long. I do know it is not easy, and most people I know would not/cannot commit to caring for another to this degree. Yes, like you, I would do it again.

        Readers, mistermuse is also a poet, record collector and classic jazz band enthusiast, primarily of music of the 1920s to early 1940s, at https://theobservationpost.wordpress.com Stop by for a listen!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Hands On Bowie, Herman, and thank you for the kind comments! Lucky the blind kitty wrote a great report. I have had their olive oil before, and it is some of the best I have ever tasted. 🙂

      All the best to you and Mr. Bowie, my favorite British Shorthair. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from Animal Couriers, Annie, and thank you for the kind comments! Those olive farm cats work hard, and Lucky the blind kitty wrote a great report. 🙂

      It is good to be back performing. I enjoy it. 🙂

      Like

  4. I like much this : “peace as “a place of one’s own to listen to the wind”. Your friend found a beautiful image for inner peace .When I watched the first photo of the mist in the apples trees I imagined I was in Normandy.. A so good memory.
    Rick and you are going to taste a well deserved rest this winter.
    About the olive trees I knew in the south of France near the Pont du Gard an one thousand years old tree . It still was well alive .
    Thanks , Lavinia for your wonderful posts so rich and diversified.
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from your blog FauquetMichel, for all the kind comments, Michel! My old friend did find a beautiful way to describe peace, and I am glad to know the misty scenes with our apple trees brought back such good memories of Normandy!

      A 1000 year old olive tree! Trees are such stoic old souls; if only they could talk about what they have seen and heard over the years. Rooted in place over the course of their lives, they are the perfect sentinels, recording the passage of time.

      Thank you again for your comments, Michel. Yes, we will enjoy a good rest this winter.

      Love to you and Janine, and your family ❤
      Lavinia

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with you that winter seems a time of rest–especially if you have been gardening or farming all summer. That photo of the altocumulus clouds is fabulous. And the cat’s reporting on the olive harvest–great stuff. I’ve always wondered how that was done, and now a cat has told me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from Arlingwords, and for the kind comments, Arlingwoman! Sleep and rest is a wonderful thing, and cold, wet winter weather is a great time for that. I am also looking forward to time to catch up with all of you!

      I’ll let M & J know how much you like Lucky’s reporting on their olive farm operations. I’ve had some of their oil before, and it is the best I have ever tasted. It is interesting how it is made. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Those dear little pink clouds all in a row! You have certainly seen some beautiful sunrises this autumn! I am so pleased you enjoyed taking part in the music festival again – it must have been good to renew old acquaintances and rediscover the joys of performing. The journey there and back is a very scenic one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was so interested in the reports on the olive harvest. I may (or may not) have mentioned that I have a customer here in Texas who has quite an orchard north of Houston. I believe they have about 150 trees. This year’s harvest was good, and although I can’t remember exactly how much oil they ended up with, I do remember someone mentioning that they had taken care of a good number of Christmas gifts, and would have plenty for the upcoming year.

    It made me laugh to hear about cats who are attracted to human food. My kitty never, in all her fifteen years, has been willing to eat even a scrap of people food. At one point, when she needed to take off some weight, her vet said I should get her off dry food, and try to entice her with canned food or good quality table fare. Well! I tried. But she simply wouldn’t touch chicken, beef, salmon — none of it. I offered her cream, ice cream, and some of the odder things people said their cats eat, like lettuce, but she would have none of it. She’s never clawed anything, either, or jumped onto anything but the bed and her two chairs. She’s just an odd one.

    Your clouds are beautiful. I’m with you on appreciating the coming of winter. It makes my work more difficult, because the weather can be iffy, and the days are so short, but I do love the long nights, and the extra time to read, write — and read wonderful blogs like yours! It’s good to hear that you’re “coming to yourself,” as my grandma used to say. May it continue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from The Task at Hand, Linda, and for the kind comments! The process is interesting, and this is the first time I have had it explained to me end to end. I’ve had our friends’ olive oil, and it is wonderful. There are some olive growers in Oregon, north of us, and it is possible with the right variety we might be able to grow some here. At 800 feet and in a geologic bowl where we get ponding of cold air, some plants and trees are problematic on our site.

      Your kitty sounds like a wonderful girl, not getting up on non-approved surfaces, or clawing things! You might try mixing some of her dry food into a little wet food, and see if she goes for that. Many cats seem to find dry food addictive, and it can be hard to get them to eat wet food. I make my own wet food, and feed a small amount of the Newman’s Own Advanced Formula dry kibble so they can exercise their teeth. With nine cats in here, I’ve had to research and adjust the food so everybody eats the same thing.

      I am glad you enjoyed the clouds! Every cloudscape is unique, and can be especially beautiful in the time around sunrise and sunset. I have found myself out in the garden at times, witnessing an incredible sky and then running to the house for the camera. The light changes rapidly during the bookends of the day, and by the time I get back, the scene has changed.

      Thank you for enjoying this blog site; I enjoy writing about what I see here. I love your grandmother’s expression, “coming to yourself”. She must have been a very wise, observant woman! I am looking forward to reading more now that the days are shorter. I am behind on reading everyone’s blogs, and have only be able to catch up in short bursts. You have a wonderful blog that I enjoy very much, and will catch up with soon. Lovely writing and beautiful photos on your site, Linda!

      Readers, please visit https://shoreacres.wordpress.com/

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Slowly or not, I’m glad to hear you’re regaining you performing sea legs! You are a gifted musician, and it must feel very odd when you’re too burnt out to perform. My ‘art’ was gardening, and when the car accident happened, I was shocked at how badly it affected me — not being able to get my hands in the dirt, to dig and plant and water and weed and create new beds.
    As always, I’m soothed by your description of nature, Lavinia. And those skies have been much the same here, especially in the afternoons and evenings — light, deep or salmon pinks, light and deep blues, all in the same sky. A marvel.
    And finally, it is good to hear from the Sicilian Correspondent, and to catch up on the harvesting and processing of the olives. You’re both making a precious liquid from the ‘fruits’ of your labour.
    My best to you and Rick and the correspondents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Cynthia Reyes, and for the kind comments, Cynthia! Aren’t the skies so lovely at this time of year? I am glad you are seeing all those gorgeous colors too!

      Our Sicilian Correspondent Lucky gave us a good description of the olive oil making process. Lucky is a blind kitty, rescued off the streets by our friend M. He does quite well climbing trees!

      This was a good year for making wine from our own grapes for us. The insect netting paid off, allowing us to wait and harvest a second and third bunch of grapes for testing. The last picking was divided into two runs so we could experiment with a darker red pinot that had extended contact with the skins for color and tannins.

      All our best to you and your family. 🙂

      Readers, please visit Canadian author Cynthia Reyes at https://cynthiasreyes.com/

      Cynthia’s books A Good Home, An Honest House and Myrtle the Purple Turtle are available on Amazon.com
      https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

      Like

    • I can fully understand how not being able to work your garden would affect you, Cynthia. I would feel the same way. Gardening is a very personal and intensive form of creativity.

      As I grow older, there is one thing regarding art, and all human pursuits, that I think about. As one door closes due to age, accidents, or other life changes, another creative door may open. Someday I will return to studying Mathematics with a fresh eye, to study it as the descriptive language of Nature and the Universe. I learned enough long ago to get through coursework, but never appreciated it for what it really is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Huh. Never thought of Mathematics in that way. I love that idea. Perhaps if I had learned it through that lens, I would have been better at it. I hope you do return to it, and share some of what you learn with us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, Mathematics is not taught that way in the schools, unless one has an unusually gifted teacher. I did not have such inspiring math teachers, although they were fine people in their own right. I think if it could be taught from the standpoint of being a universal language that describes the universe in which we live, there would a greater degree of math literacy, not to mention joy in classroom. 🙂

        The Man Who Knew Infinity is a film on my list of must see films. To study the lives of these famous mathematicians is one foot in the door to appreciation of the language to which they devoted their lives.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Knew_Infinity_(film)

        Like

  9. Dear Lavinia, what a lovely, lyrical letter! You always amaze me in crafting these posts. I loved all the sky-scapes and kitty photos. It was interesting to read about the olives too. And you crowned it with your sublime music. A delight in every way. Hugs to you, Rick, and all the kitties. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teagan! Thank you for stopping by from Teagan’s Books, and for the kind comments! Autumn is my favorite time of year for observing nature, even as I crawl across summer’s finish line and collapse in a heap. I am looking forward to some time to catch up with all of you now, and get some music and writing projects underway.

      Miss Izzy is taking over for Correspondent Otis who passed away towards the end of summer. Readers should be hearing a report from them at the end of December, and then back to our own correspondents here in January.

      Hugs to you and Crystal, and may all good things come your way this holiday season. 🙂

      Readers, please visit author Teagan R. Geneviene at https://teagansbooks.com/

      Teagan’s books are available at Amazon.com
      https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, winter garden chores… we are cleaning out the goat barn every-other week currently to cover the garden beds with hay and manure for spring’s fertilizer. Lots of pruning in the cold months. I burried wood in the follow garden to let fungus grow into the soil. Next, collecting leaves to put over the hay-manure layer. Who needs a gym? – Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Hermitsdoor, Oscar! Yes, there is plenty to do in off-season, but fortunately the pace here is slower in the winter months, our rainy season. Raking leaves for mulch is in progress, pruning the vineyard will follow soon after. Fruit trees in February. No gym necessary. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have had beautiful October weather for the past 3 months (dry, mild). Rain comes tomorrow. Then, winter is here Thurdsay with temperatures from 15F to 35F for a few days. Snow might blow about by this weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Got more leaves raked up for garden mulch today. We are actually coming into a week of sunny, dry weather here. At this time of year I hope for sunny days and clouds at night to keep it from getting real cold by morning. So far the winter cold snap ax hasn’t fallen, yet, and the agricultural forecast is for a warmer than normal winter. The snow reports go by elevation here. I know when I see snow falling on the backs of the Black Angus cows up on the hillside to the east, we are pretty close to seeing snow here down in the bowl.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for stopping by from GardenInACity, Jason, and for the kind comment! The bookends of the day are particularly beautiful at this time of year, with the ever-changing cloudscapes providing a convenient canvas for catching colors.

      Readers, please visit Jason and Judy at https://gardeninacity.wordpress.com/ They garden in Evanston, Illinois and have a beautiful city garden. They also do some traveling and highlight gardens in far away places.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A beautiful visit to the farm in this more peaceful season Lavinia. I’m glad that your harvests are safely in and that you will hopefully have some creative time. I’m glad you got to the festival and hope you had a great time there. Olive harvesting looks like hard work – I think the kitties have the right idea in doing all they can to avoid helping 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Harvesting Hecate, Andrea, and for the kind comments! Olive harvesting does look like hard work, but as our friends M & J would tell you, the liquid green gold is all worth it. 🙂

      Spokane is a wonderful experience, and it was good to reconnect with old friends. There was one woman in my audience who remembered me from 2011, and came to see me! That is always a pleasing thing to have happen. I enjoy performing, and the festival is favorite. There is good turn out from the community to support it, appreciative listeners, and a wonderful staff and crew. I was excited to be there again, but also fighting a cold, and had to take antihistamine to dry up the sinuses. That made it a bit rough even though each performer only gets 30 minutes, but I got through it, and the audience was genuinely appreciative, asking where they could hear more. I have to pick songs and stories carefully to fit within the time frame.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, beautiful photos! Love the olive ones too; they look delicious. I am doing all my cooking with olive oil and just love it. Herding cats is never easy, maybe next time Ms. Zulu can help you with her Border Collie skills. The ZAB team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Life of Benji, Anarette, and for the kind comments! We could definitely use Mrs. Zulu’s Border Collie skills herding cats. Our friends J & M with the olive farm in Sicily have three dogs, all rescued as puppies, but they need herding too. 🙂

      Readers, please visit the Anarette, Benji and Mrs. Zulu, at https://lifeofbenji.com/ Benji is an ex-shelter dog who became a therapy dog in 2016. He likes to write about his work, and adventures with his companion Mrs. Zulu.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lavinia, you have outdone yourself with some truly spectacular photos this time around! Dawn and early morning on your farm, and the roadside views from Spokane – just wonderful. I have to laugh at even the name of The House of 40 Paws, but that was a pretty funny segment. As many cats as one has, they will always be doing something. Glad your harvest is done and you can relax a bit, and get back into your music. Yes? 🙂 Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Still A Dreamer, Jeanne, and for the kind comments. Those photos are roadside views on the way to, and back from, Spokane.

      It is good to have all the seasonal work done in the garden and have more time to myself and for music and writing. Garden cleanup still continues, but the winter season is a much slower pace. 🙂

      I will let M & J know how much you enjoyed their kitties on the olive farm. 🙂

      Readers, please visit Jeanne at https://stilladreamer.wordpress.com/ She also has some beautiful cards for sale at http://www.jeannebalsam.com/

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Lavinia … your photography is just stunning. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the sky can change colour. Love the shot of Rick and Lucio … How super to be able to make wine from your own grapes. Isn’t it wonderful being able to grow you own food and to be surrounded by such beauty. We are lucky aren’t we? Yes winter is time to relax and recover. I love the way nature does this … As for that kitty report from Sicily, wonderful! It is looking like we will have a great harvest next year, but it won’t be 140 litres! Wonderful post thank you for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Frog Pond Farm in beautiful New Zealand, Julie! And thank you for all the kind comments. Thank you for reading!

      Both ends of the day put on amazing light show. We are lucky in so many ways to have this farm with all it produces, and all the surrounding beauty, too!

      I’ve had some of M & J’s olive oil, and it is the best I have ever tasted. 🙂 Lucky the blind kitty and all his companions at the House of 40 Paws have stories behind how they got there. Lucky’s story is especially moving.

      Readers, please visit Julie at https://frogpondfarm.co.nz for a beautiful accounting of life on a farm in New Zealand.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Nice pics! Really enjoyed how you walk your readers through the olive production from harvest to the production. That’s really cool since I don’t get to see things like that. My Dad used to be a farmer in in the 1950s. One day it hit me that you don’t expect to hear that in NYC. He farmed in NJ with relatives. He has dementia now so I like to ask him questions and write everything down.

    Loved all the cats pics too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Jebus Mews & Andrea, and for the kind comments! Our friends in Sicily did a nice job of outlining the process from olive harvest on their farm to finished oil at the processing plant.

      I am from the east coast originally, and know of New Jersey’s rich black soil farmlands. I am sorry your Dad has dementia now. Cherish the time you have with him, and I am glad you are writing down everything he tells you.

      Our cats and crew send their regards to you all back there. 🙂

      Readers, please stop by https://jebusmewsandandrea.com a “Photo Enthusiast, Travel, NYC & Cats” blog. I loved the photo you took from the plane in your last post. I have one from my return trip back from Arizona earlier this year.
      https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/rick-and-lavinia-ross-farm-music-newsletter-for-february-2017/

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never knew about the black soil farmlands. A long long time ago my Dad rented a car and we met relatives on their farm. I was in my preteens so early 1990s. I always enjoyed seeing how the rest of the country lives. I don’t’ remember much except that the tomatoes they gave to to try were really sweet. The family kind of all spread out as everyone got older and lost touch. I did reconnect with some cousins on Facebook.

        Thanks for your telling your readers to check out my post 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Now I’m finally here to enjoy your beautiful music and all your kitties too! My gosh, you do have a lot of cutie-pies to snuggle with. I love the photo of You-tube and Ranger on the sunny deck 😀 The two of them with their toesies touching.
    I’m mesmerized by your guitar skills. I just love acuostic guitar music. When I was flying out to visit Alys in October, a young man was playing at the Airport. I was so impressed, I bought his CD. He’s local to Edmonton. The Airport hosts local musicians here to both entertain travelers and give the artist a venue to perform in. I’ve actually heard so many really talented artists there.
    The olive harvest seems pretty labour intensive. What do you do with your harvest once it’s made into all that oil? Do you sell it locally at markets?
    The first bit of November in Edmonton was fridgid. It snowed Halloween night and remained cold for almost 3 weeks. Then suddenly, the last week of November, it got mild and has stayed so till now. So lucky, lucky us. By mild, I mean between 6 C and -4 C . That’s mild for us in December 😀 Cheers to Salmon Brooke as you ease into these short, dark, quiet and relaxing days of winter. xo Boomdee

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boomdee! Thank you for stopping by from Boomdeeadda up there in beautiful Canada, and for the kind comments! I’m glad you got to see an airport musician. That seems like a great venue, with people from all over coming and going.

      Here at Salmon Brook Farms, we have 9 cats and no dogs, only 36 paws. 🙂 The olive harvest cat report actually came from our friends M & J and their cats over in Sicily. They have 3 dogs and 7 cats, or 40 paws, hence the House of 40 Paws. The number of paws keep going up over time, so next time, it could be 44 paws. 🙂 I think M & J consume most the oil they make, and give some away as gifts. I’m not sure if any is sold at market over there.

      Readers, please visit our Canadian neighbor Boomdee at https://boomdeeadda.com/ She is an incredible crafter and indefatigable sunny personality. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • omgosh, I really read that wrong didn’t I ? I went back to re-read and of course it’s so clear, Sicily. LOL Thanks for clearing it up for this nutty-nut reader.
        Thanks you so kindly for your shout out too, you’re so thoughful ! x

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, Boomdee! My posts generally are long ones as I only post once a month (its all I can handle), and this one is especially long with the extra input from the Sicilian Correspondents Desk. Some readers tell me they have to come back multiple times to read it all. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi there dear Lavinia.
    Such a beautiful post… I love the featured photograph… Not to mention, the row of cotton candy pink clouds is majestic (I have never seen such thing: I made sure to enlarge the pics: wonderful!).
    The section starring the cats is great too… a very original way to present the chronicles of the farm. I love cats as well. I actually have three!.
    Inteersting to learn about your experiments with wine… Sounds exciting. 🍇🍷
    Again: lucky you to live in such a perfect, peaceful place.
    Love & best wishes… ❤ 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aquileana, thank you so much for stopping by from La Audacia de Aquiles, and for the kind comments! Life here is good. Not always easy, but good.

      Our friends in Sicily have the olive farm, and this month’s report from the olive farm cats was from there. Lucky and friends are their kitties. Mr. Nano and Wynken are two of our nine cats here on our farm in Oregon. It can get confusing with so many cats! 🙂

      This is the first year we had enough grapes to test out several batches of wine. The results were good, and we look forward to next year. We will invest in more insect netting.

      All the best to you, Aquileana. 🙂

      Those readers who enjoy research on the mythology of cultures around the world, please visit Aquileana at https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I went further in your blog ,Lavinia and I discovered Rick was also a musician, a guitar player. You made a long road since you come from Florida and Connecticut if I remember well . You live in harmony. With the farm and the winemakng time is probably limited now
    BTW I thank you for the problem of photoon my latest entry .I noticed indeed it was not in the reader. The explanation: I copied and pasted it in the editor . This worked on my page in my computer but not registered in the wordpress media . I have just redo the processus and now you can get this photo. Thank you
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the explanation of the missing photo! I will go have a look now. 🙂

      We have lived in Oregon for 14 years now, and it was a long road here from the east coast. We try our best to live in harmony with the land and creatures here. More time is something we all want, and there seems to be less of it as we get older. It just goes by too fast!

      Love to you and Janine, ❤
      Lavinia

      Like

  19. I have been listening Back Roads today . I confess I have been subjugated by the vharm of yor voice, Lavinia, that is in perfect harmony with the rich chords of the guitar;
    Thank you for your gretings and I wish to you and Rick and family a happy Christmas.
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Somehow I missed this update Lavinia – hope that you and yours had a wonderful Christmas season. Your cloud photos are lovely – there is so much beauty in our world as long as we look around us and appreciate it …wish we all did it more. All the best for 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you Carol! Thank you for visiting from womanseyeview and welcome back! I have been a bit slow at catching up with everyone this season myself. We had a beautiful, quiet Christmas here. Yes, there is quite a bit of beauty in this world, waiting to seen an appreciated. All the best to you in 2018, too! Please give Ivy, and that handsome horse Romy, a scritch from me. I was sorry to read Romy hurt his leg, but it looks like he is on the mend.

      Liked by 1 person

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